Sunderland have offered a new contract to midfielder Alex Pritchard, sporting director Kristjaan Speakman has confirmed.
Sunderland man Pritchard sees his contract expire at the end of this season, and other clubs have taken note of his situation. Teams in the MLS and Turkey were said to be keen while Serie B side Como 1907 and Championship rivals Birmingham City are also admirers.
The 30-year-old has featured regularly for the Black Cats this season, even if his place in the starting XI hasn’t been guaranteed. Overall, the attacking midfielder has notched a goal and five assists in 25 games across all competitions.
Now, with interest growing and his deal winding down, Sunderland have made a move to try and keep Pritchard.
As quoted by the Sunderland Echo, sporting director Speakman has confirmed a new contract has been offered to the diminutive playmaker. After praising Pritchard and highlighting the importance of his role, he said:
“From Alex’s perspective, we’ve made the decision more recently to offer him an extension to his contract. We wouldn’t normally do that because we’d normally do that as part of our succession planning somewhere around March or April time.
“But we just felt that in conversations with him, that was something we probably needed to do because of the situation and where his head was at more than anything. I think that’s the right thing for the football club to do, and he is in a really good position. He’s in the team, and I’m sure he’s happy.”
Moving to keep Pritchard
Given the focus of Sunderland’s philosophy, it might be a bit of a surprise that they’re looking to keep Pritchard. He’ll turn 31 in the summer and with the Black Cats focusing on bringing in players who they can develop and sell on for a profit, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Huddersfield Town man doesn’t exactly fit that profile.
However, his technical ability and versatility means he’s still a player of importance. He offers creative threat from attacking midfield and out wide and his Championship pedigree is vital in a squad made up of largely inexperienced players.
The interest from Birmingham City and overseas clubs has forced Sunderland’s hand somewhat. The contract is there for Pritchard to sign it, but it’s now down to him to decide if he wants to extend his stay on Wearside.